Monday, April 3, 2017

Why Am I Here: Beauty, the Universe, and the Search for God

CC 2.0 via Pixabay
Beauty surrounds us.  We see it everyday, the blue sky, the clouds, the night sky, and all these gorgeous mysteries. If you live in the city it's relatively obscured, isn't it?  Out here in the country, in upper Michigan it's amazing.  It's astonishing to see the wildlife, the forests, and the bright lights in the heavens.  

One might be tempted to forget that we exist on a sphere orbited by a smaller sphere, together orbiting a giant ball of fire in the midst of interstellar space. Yes, I know, it's not really fire, it's hydrogen and helium. Gas and plasma. Don't fact check my idioms.

We must find time to ponder the complexities of life.  We must find time to think about the harmonious wonders of the natural world.  And even beauty, yes that pervasive yet fleeting conjugation of mystery, wonder, and love.   

We are often urged: Don't think too much about it just live your life.  Don't wonder too much about the meaning of life they say. Just live your life and stop asking questions. After death comes the nothingness, right?

I have a hard time believing that when I look up at the sky.  Or when I gaze at the moon at night or the sun in the day.  Beauty, awe, and glory seem to me to be hints that there is something much greater beyond it all. It draws me to consider things like biology, evolution, the origin of life, and the big bang. 

The naturalistic suggestion of evolution from space rocks and stellar dust billions of years ago has never sat well with me.  I don't think it's a particularly feasible suggestion for the origin of species. But it's a great way to evade that pesky God question. 

I think the anthropic principle (fine tuning of the universe) and the statistical improbability (1 in 10 to the 80th power) of the universe coming about by chance utterly destroy the concept of an unguided, uncaused universe.  That and the cosmological argument, that anything that begins to exist must have a cause; the universe began to exist at the big bang, requiring a cause, and that cause must be spaceless, timeless, omnipotent and personal... well, that about does it for me.  

Of course the 2nd law of thermodynamics (entropy) ought to invalidate evolution right off the bat, but then they say, "oh the universe is a closed system so the 2nd law doesn't apply."  To which I would reply, "what evidence do you have to say that the universe is a closed system?" Just as much evidence as you have for the multiverse, none. But science lately is getting a bit ridiculous.

Many journals and magazines end up violating the laws of scientific inquiry, like occams razor, which cuts off the multiverse very quickly.  But they don't really care about their own rules. They just want to prove their presuppositions.  And if you view Wikipedia articles on entropy or occams razor or murphys law, you notice that these article writers start to try to redefine these terms and ideas when these ideas invalidate their presuppositions.  Very unscientific and dishonest.  It's so tough these days to discern between those pushing an ideology and those seeking after the truth. But we haven't been as interested as we should've been about truth!

We're a generation that doesn't think as much as we should.  We millennials that is, and post-millennials, we prefer to let the cult of the "experts" think for us.  But it turns out the experts have their own agenda.  

Even the studies produced by groups and agencies are becoming suspect because the motivations and desired outcomes from the scientific studies seem to affect the results more and more.  It's tough to tell when a business funds a study, and desires a certain outcomes, and they get that outcome... well, should we trust the study?  Oddly enough when the study reaches the desired outcome then the money keeps flowing in for more studies!

We millennials have not always been big thinkers.  But I think that's changing!  Oddly enough, thanks to websites like You Tube, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Facebook.  We're able to access good information and invibe it in ways that suit us.  If we prefer to read we can choose from tons of news sources, legitimate and otherwise.  We have access to tons of information via the internet.  Personally I learn best by watching and listening, so I find myself listening to internet radio and watching You Tube a great deal.  

I try to encourage everyone I meet to have an attitude of growth, studying, and all out enjoyment of learning!  Learning is awesome. 

You may have gotten a terrible impression from public schools and colleges that learning sucks.  Believe me, in the classroom it certainly can be awful. But when I seek out learning on my own terms, it can become a real joy.  

I love to learn about history, especially american history and european history.  I also love science, biology, and astronomy.  And I love to hear from leading political thinkers.  I enjoy reading books about apologetics, the Bible, the history of religion, theology, and sociology. 

I try to find presentations on You Tube and listen to great minds share their perspectives.  Here are some thinkers I recommend you check out: (Just do a You Tube search and watch.)
-Ravi Zacharias (philosophy/religion)
-Robert George (politics)
-William Lane Craig (apologetics & science)
-Ben Shapiro (politics)
-Os Guinness (culture)
-Diana West (history of politics)
-L. Brent Bozell (media)
-Mary Eberstadt (history of religion)
-Theodore Dalrymple (worldview, economics)
-Pat Caddell (politics of party)
-Tony Perkins (religious liberty)
-Michael Ramsden (RZIM apologetics)
-Tanya Walker (RZIM apologetics)
-John Ankerberg (science & faith)
-Carly Fiorina (business & politics)
-Hugh Ross (science)
-Francis Collins (science)
-Stephen Meyer (philosophy of science)
-Dennis Prager (Judaism/politics)
-John Lennox (mathematics)
-John R.W. Stott (theology)
-Nabeel Qureshi (Islam/Christianity)
-Norm Geisler (history and religion)
-Frank Turek (apologetics)
-Mike Lee (politics)
-Alan Keyes (constitutional law)
-Christina Hoff Sommers (feminism)
-Ben Sasse (politics)
-Vince Vitale (apologetics)
-Jim Jordan (politics)
-Mark Levin (politics)
-Ken Ham (science and faith)
-J.I. Packer (theology)
-R.C. Sproul (theology and apologetics)
-David E. Bernstein (politics)
-Allen West (politics)
-Sheriff David Clarke (politics and law)
-Trey Gowdy (politics and law)
-Ted Cruz (politics and media)

Learning is a joy.  Learn to learn. Learn to love to learn.  Apply yourself to this journey.  Don't expect colleges, schools, and universities to educate you.  They certainly have that capability.  But ultimately learning is done on a personal basis.  That's what I believe.

So the beauty of life urges us to seek after the supernatural.  The origin of species and the fantastic nature of our universe leads us to consider a personal intelligent designer.  Our desire to seek after this complex universe and to understand the philosophies, worldviews, and presuppositions around us draws us to study, learn, and grow in the information age. So much information is available at our fingertips in so many different formats, it's a blessing.  

As we grow, learn, and seek after the truth we come to consider who God is.  And in the Book, God reveals himself to us through his son Jesus Christ.  That is the inexorable truth I came to eventually.

Humility is key to this journey.  An open mind is vital.  But the ultimate goal of an open mind is to find the truth and to embrace that set of values and principles.  Then we seek to apply those principles to live a good life.

What is our mindset on a daily basis?  As we grow and learn are we considering the finite events of our life in the context of an eternity beyond death?  If so, we will tend to live a provocative lifestyle of peace.  That is the hope anyway.  If we seek after God with an open heart and an open mind, we will find Him.  And through Him we will discover the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. 

That's where I'm at anyway. I've grown and lived for about 32 years now, and I've come to be fully convinced on the weight of evidence and personal experience that God is real. 

I've found that Jesus Christ his son is a historically reliable person who really existed and walked the Earth. The complex harmonious nature of the universe and this planet lend great credence to suggestion of a divine creator. I've seen personally this living savior at work in my life, when I called out to him in a state of intense despair and addiction.  And now being delivered from that inescapable prison I find myself convicted, called, and confirmed in the church as a sharer of his truth. He's given me a mission. My goodness it's simply astonishing.  

I had always wondered at the meaning of life and now I finally found it.  But that's where I'm at, maybe you aren't there yet.  And that's fine.  Be where you are.  Everything has a time, I really do believe that.

So let's see here, I've got two arms and two legs and I apparently exist and have these interesting thought patterns and precarious emotions, and various indexes of knowledge and wisdom, and ideas, and there is this physical world around me, where I interact with other bipeds and they skitter about doing what they do, in these cities of humanity, in this post-industrial age of computers and iphones and such.  It's all really quite bizarre.  

I have these senses, feeling, tasting, seeing, hearing, smelling, and all this various stimuli.  And I look around in awe and wonder how do I live this life and what should I do? People get old and die, so what should I do with the seconds, minutes, hours, days and years assigned to me?  How should I spend them?

Then again I must consider finances, work, family, housing, transportation, and eating among other things.  And how to keep all that working properly.  It can all get quite overwhelming and hectic.  

So apparently I've come to this appoint of receiving this Jesus Christ as my savior, and believing in his moral, spiritual, physical substitution on the cross, being brutally slaughtered as a stand in for myself oddly enough, as a payment for my own accrued debts that are called "sins."  But this becomes increasingly normative when considering that a God-created universe must of course be moral in nature.  And my own innate sense of right and wrong seems to concur with that.  So it makes a certain amount of sense to me.  Though my "feelings" tend to rebel against it my mind tends to own up to it, while a certain part of my feelings seems to grudgingly admit "yes, I've sinned."  Even when it prefers rebelling at such a suggestion given the spirit of the age.  

In short I've come to the point of becoming a Christian, something I thought I'd never do, in fact at times in the past I'd sooner die than ever do something like that.  I've become the bigot I guess, according to the spirit of the age.  This obviously doesn't bode well for my popularity.  No it certainly does not.  

But I made it my goal to seek after truth, and this is where it's led me.  So despite all the negatives, so be it.  Despite not particularly liking it, I still go with it.  

In becoming a Christian I've embraced a certain set of instructions, principles, and presuppositions that I seek to follow on a daily basis.  Much like the american constitution restrains government, the Bible restrains and sets various bars for my conduct and character.  It is particularly difficult let me tell you. But not impossible and at many times quite joyful.  

I try to consider four key areas in the application of this worldview. Then I try to apply them in my daily life and see the world through those lenses. Those perspectives are: origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.  

I try to learn about various disciplines as I've outlined, like politics, history, sociology, science, and other areas and I absolutely delight in seeing how they fit into my worldview and how I can see those things more accurately based on the truth of the Christian worldview.  Some would say well your putting on blinders and in reality, to me it feels like I'm putting on reading glasses. I can see more clearly all of these disciplines from a Spirit filled perspective.

I try to share my worldview via writing, speaking, preaching, video and in anyway I can really.  If Christianity is really the truth I've got to tell people!  I need to carry the gospel to people.  And that is the basis of another area of how I live out this worldview, it's my mission.  And I'd like to challenge you: What is your mission?  Here's a hint: Discover your passions and you'll learn more about your mission.  

What about companionship in life? How can I meet my partner? Apparently an important part of life is meeting a companion and having a family.  Very interesting.  I don't think it's necessarily a requirement, yet it seems to be ingrained in our souls.  It's a desire within us, so we follow after it.  And the Bible tells us that doing that is fine, just follow the basic guidelines of behaving in a romantically biblical manner.  So trying to bang as many girls as you can, or sleeping around with as many guys as you can, well, that just isn't in the cards.  Not a big deal, just don't do it that way.  Wait patiently for your true love, right?  That isn't so bad. Patience is a virtue, as they say. 

Enjoying friendship with people in the world can be part of life as well.  Enjoying fellowship with other humans is a real joy.  Cultivating a close life-long friendship has always been a goal of mine.  I don't have it now but I hope I will.  

Building a legacy of faith and family I assume will become a part of my life as I grower older.  That would be a part of my life where I look to pass on my ideas and values to the next generation through my children and grandchildren.

Still another area where I find a passion is with politics, and trying to shape a better world. I look to help improve the United States, my home nation.  Part of my identity is my national identity, my citizenship on Earth.  Yet my true identity is as a citizen of heaven.  
You see how you can explore your own interests and find where your mission goes.  But ultimately your mission is something you'll find in a mystery called "the will of God."  If you can operate within that will of God, find that river and flow along in it, in your boat of life, you'll find yourself in the vocation and mission you were destined for.  It's a beautiful thing.  I've found that in my life after so many years of not knowing which way to go in life.  

A timeless truth I've found in this Christian life, of living the will of God is that in Christ and His mission for me I become more myself that I ever could've been apart from Him.  In God I become who I was always supposed to be.  It's beautiful.

In conclusion the goal is to live within the will of God by believing in Jesus Christ and living out a life of faith, sharing His gospel with others.  The ultimate end of the will of God is that it leads out of this broken world, out of our broken selves, and into a fully redeemed and perfected version of ourselves in a fully redeemed and perfected new universe.  Ultimately the will of God leads us out of this fallen earth and this fallen universe, and into a perfect restored universe, the new universe, and the new Earth, where we will explore realities we can't possibly imagine now.  The road leads Home, a Home we've never known yet long for within. The ultimate end of God's will, in Christ, is eternal life in a beautiful, sublime, perfect reality where we will live forever.  

Beauty, origins, the search for God, philosophy, and our life mission are all leading through Christ, through the will of God to a perfect universe.  That is the goal and the meaning of life. If you aren't there, so be it, but I hope someday you will be.  Give it time and think about it. The mind recoils, but the spirit is willing.

CC 2.0 Night Sky Paranoramic via Flickr
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